Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hitmen Push Rebels To The Brink

You can moves the doomsday clock another tick closer to midnight for the Red Deer Rebels.

Once again, the Rebels played hard but came up short in a 3-2 to the Calgary Hitmen last night at the Enmax Centrium.

That reduces the Rebels elimenation number to four... meaning any combination of points gained by the Brandon Wheat Kings and/or lost by the Rebels will elimenate the local hockey heroes from WHL playoff contention. More simply... a Wheaties win combined with a Rebels loss in regulation closes the lid.

One could look at last night as another case of the Rebels putting forth a solid effort but coming away with nothing to show for it. Mind you, GM and Head Coach Jesse Wallin wasn't particularly sold on his team's effort last night...

"We just seemed to give them a little bit too much respect and too much time and space in our zone. Didn't finish enough checks to get the puck back. In the end we allowed them to score too easily."

One could say the Rebels were lacking a certain 'excellence in execution' versus the Hitmen.

The Hitmen fired 43 shots on goal last night. Not good enough if you're a team needing to win at all costs (the Rebels had 35 shots last night).

Rather than keep hashing on the nearing of the end for the Rebels... here are some good things from last night's game...

- Marc Mackenzie played one of his best games (that I've seen) as a Rebel. Not counted on to be an offensive leader, Mackenzie had a number of great scoring chances last night. He even showed some slick hands while making some nice moves to create his opportunities. Mackenzie was also a force down low and was effective in cycling the puck in Hitmen territory on numerous shifts. A nice effort last night by #27.

- Dexter Bricker gave us another glimpse of the play that will surely make him a fan favorite next season. The 16-year-old call up laid a solid jolt on 19-year-old Hitmen foward Cody Sylvester in the first period last night. Sylvester didn't really like that very much and challenged Bricker to a duel. They dropped the mitts but no real blows were landed. Regardless, Bricker is the kind of player who plays without fear and who loves to stir things up on the ice. Look for him to bring that on a nightly basis next season.

- Deven Dubyk, as per usual, was solid between the pipes and gave the Rebels a chance to win. He couldn't be faulted for at least two of Calgary's three goals as they came from rebound opportunities on which his teammates failed to get the puck out of harm's way. It won't rank highly when it comes all-time Rebels performances... but Dubyk's work this season has been nothing short of exemplary.

Next game for the Rebels... Friday night at home versus Edmonton.


Jocelyn Peterman and her Red Deer rink continue to roll at the World Junior Championship in Sweden.

They beat Russia 10-6 earlier this morning to improve their record to 6-1, tied for first place with Sweden.

Of note, Peterman's win came over Anna Sidorova who skipped Russia's team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.



Anonymous said...

The game showed that the Rebels tryhard, but are really lacking in depth in scoring, I listened to the drive home show and you and mooner were talking about next year, I think they are in trouble if this is all they have for next year, even though they have the players one year better, we will be lucky to get goals, Turner Elson, Dumba, Inglis these guys might get 15- 20 goals the rest are good skaters but not many finesse players. I hope I am wrong.


Troy Gillard said...

You're right... the lack of scoring depth has been an issue all season long (regardless of injuries). It's something they will have to address at some point (trades, import draft are possibilities). But for the players who will be back next season... this full year under their belt will do them nothing but good.

SectionNDeserter said...

Scoring isn't going to be their biggest hurdle to clear next season. They will almost certainly return Inglis and Kambeitz, who should each eclipse the 30 goal mark. Guys like Ness, Mayor and Millette should be good for 15-25 goals. In addition to Kambeitz and Inglis, I think the 3rd overage spot will be filled by Elson or Persson. Elson will probably be playing pro next season, but if he isn't he should bring 25-30 goals or more. Persson doesn't need to be signed until next season due to being drafted a year after his first year of eligibility, so he can return next season should he so desire, and bring another 30 goals with him.

The bigger problem next season is going to be replacing Petrovic's 45 or so minutes of TOI per game, as well as Weller and Borejko. I guess if you can draw any positive from the injuries to Weller and Borejko, it does ease the blueline into the next season a little more gradual. It is going to be a young/inexperienced facet of the team, with second year players like Hak, Fafard, Thiel and Doetzel, and rookies like Fleury and Pochuk.

Until the overage situation clears itself up, I don't really see how they can add a player through the import draft though.

Troy Gillard said...

Some good points Section N... now I know what to blog about today :) TG